The commercial audiovisual industry in North America was worth nearly $60 billion in 2018.
High-quality filming gear doesn’t always come cheap. But thanks to the continual advances in filmmaking tech, you can now shoot broadcast quality content at a fraction of what it would have cost even ten years ago.
If you’re going to do it right, you’ll need to make sure you have the right equipment. There are some essentials that every filmmaker will use.
So read on as we take a look at the filming gear that every video professional needs.
The first thing you’re going to need is a camera.
These days your list of options is huge. You can shoot high-quality footage using just your smartphone. A DSLR camera is capable of shooting superb quality video and gives you the option of using interchangeable lenses. And then there are high-end dedicated digital cinema cameras that can shoot at incredible resolution.
Your choice will depend on both your needs and your budget, as well as the style of shooting you’re intending to do.
A lot of movies and TV shows these days are shot in a handheld style. But despite that, a good quality tripod should still be one of the first pieces of equipment that you buy.
If you want to shoot stable establishing shots or time-lapse segments, then keeping your camera perfectly still is a must. A good quality tripod is essential for this and will allow you to shoot from more unusual angles to add variety to your shots.
You should also invest in a fluid head for your tripod. This will allow you to pan or tilt your camera smoothly and under perfect control. A tripod can also serve as a mount for a slider for great slide shots or pushes and pulls.
It doesn’t matter how good your camera is; if your lighting isn’t good enough, your footage will look poor.
If you’re shooting run-and-gun, then you might have to make do with an on-camera light, or even use a reflector to focus the natural light. But if you’ve got more time to set up your shots, then you really need to invest in a three-point lighting kit.
These don’t have to be expensive, but lighting is not something that should be an optional extra. It can make the difference between bad footage and something that looks truly professional.
4. Microphone or Audio Recorder
For the vast majority of filmmaking, you’re going to want to capture some sound as well as visuals.
And this is where DSLR cameras can be less than adequate. Most come with poor quality built-in microphones that aren’t suitable for a professional production. Shotgun microphones that can be attached to the hot shoe can improve things significantly but still have to rely on a tiny 3.5mm connection.
For the best quality audio, you will probably want to capture the sound separately to your video. Whether this is via on-person lavalier microphones, or using a handheld digital recorder, you will need to make use of a clapperboard before each take in order to be able to sync the sound in the edit.
Another vital piece of equipment when recording audio is some good over-the-ear headphones.
You need to be able to monitor the audio that you are recording at all times whilst you are shooting. In-ear headphones let in far too much external noise to be able to do the job properly. So you’ll need to invest in a good, comfortable pair of quality headphones.
You will then be certain that all the audio you have captured doesn’t contain any nasty surprises when you reach the edit suite.
6. Memory Cards
Some cameras come with built-in memory for capturing your footage.
But the vast majority make use of removable memory. And this can be a real bonus when you’re short of time, as it allows you to transfer some of your footage to your hard drive whilst you’re shooting some more.
Not all memory cards are created equal. Size is important as you’ll need enough memory to capture all the footage you want. But the speed of the memory card is also very important; if you’re shooting at high resolutions, slower memory cards won’t be able to handle it.
7. Portable Hard Drive
As we mentioned, once you’ve got the footage on your memory card, you’re going to need to transfer it to a hard drive.
You could fill up your laptop with all of the footage, but the danger is that if something goes wrong, everything you’ve shot is lost. That’s why you should have at least two portable hard drives for every shoot. And try not to keep them together; that way it’s much harder to lose them both.
If you’re shooting out and about, we definitely recommend choosing a hard drive that is designed to take knocks and spills.
8. Editing Software
The last thing you’re going to need is something with which to edit all your footage.
Once again, it depends on what you’re shooting as to the level of complexity you will need from your editing software. Final Cut Pro was long seen as the best of the best, but if you wanted to use it you had to commit to using an Apple computer.
But recently Adobe Premiere CC has become the industry editor of choice. It’s compatible with both Windows and Mac and is incredibly powerful. There are also other more affordable options out there which can still do a great job.
Got All the Filming Gear but Need a Studio to Shoot In?
If you’ve already got all the filming gear you require but are looking for a green-screen compatible studio to shoot in, then you’re in the right place.
We offer world-class TV studio rentals in Washington DC with prices starting from just $750. We have a live studio space for all of your broadcasting needs, as well as a state-of-the-art guest studio that can be used as a green screen.
We even have a stunning all weather outdoor studio with views of the White House and the National Monument. Contact us today to learn more.